Alberta couple charged in child's death targeted over natural medicine: family

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

RAYMOND, Alta. - A relative of an Alberta couple charged after their toddler died of meningitis thinks the family's belief in nutritional supplements is behind an "overzealous" prosecution.

David and Collet Stephen have been charged with failing to provide the necessities of life for their 19-month old son, Ezekiel.

RCMP have said the boy fell ill in February 2012 but it wasn't until the following month when he stopped breathing that they called for an ambulance.

The couple issued a statement that they treated the sick child like any good parent would.

David Stephen's brother, Brad, says the family is not against doctors and traditional medicine, but simply didn't know the child was so sick.

The family runs a company south of Lethbridge called Truehope, which sells a nutritional supplement to treat mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Truehope fought to have Health Canada approve its product for more than a decade before an Alberta judge ruled that it could be sold as a drug.

RCMP would not comment further on the case, saying the allegations will be dealt with in court.